Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Walktober- city style

One of my favorite things about October is Robin’s Walktober post where she invites all of us to get out and take a walk and then shares them all with the blogosphere. And here it is the middle of October already and I haven’t posted about my October walk yet.

Let’s go see what’s just past those planters!

Sure, I tried last week, drove an hour north only to find the trail I wanted to explore closed. And sure I could have taken you to any number of local parks, but I’ve dragged you out to those parks numerous times over the years.

I wanted to do something different. And since the color around here is only beginning I decided not to wander into the woods, rather I’d go in the opposite direction – literally – and travel about an hour south to the city of Detroit.

Detroit’s skyline, as seen from Belle Isle state park, in the middle of the Detroit River.

Sunday morning I drove down, avoiding the freeway as everything is under construction. That worked fine as I got to see many beautiful churches, all filled with people coming and going. Someday I’d like to do a post about the churches on Woodward Avenue.

This church is down near the river.

The Riverwalk has lots of fun stuff, including a nature themed carousel…

I want to sit on the heron!

…small waterfalls…

It was a little chilly to play in the water on Sunday.

…places to meet your friends and enjoy a drink…

This place would be hopping on a warm summer evening.

…and plenty of comfy chairs to sit and watch the river traffic go by.

A good spot to sit and watch for a freighter.

Down at one end is General Motors’ headquarters, a combination of tall glass circular towers. It’s one of Detroit’s skyline landmarks.

It used to be called the Renaissance Center…the Ren Cen for short and some of us still call it that.

They’ve added a glass enclosed ballroom to the back of it with a stunning view of the river and Windsor, Canada sitting on the other side.

Built years apart, the two meld together into a beautiful facade.

The General Motors building sits next to Hart Plaza, a central park that hosts lots of music and art festivals during the summer. There’s several permanent pieces of ‘art’ located at the plaza.

Not sure what this is supposed to represent.

Most of them I’ve never understood. OK. I’ve never understood any of them.

Maybe this is the circle of life?

But down by the river there is a piece of sculpture here in the plaza that makes more sense.

Looking toward freedom.

It’s a sculpture honoring the Underground Railroad. The people are looking and pointing toward Canada across the river. It was dedicated in October of 2001.

Come this way!

Turning my back on the river I looked at the city. It beckoned me, so I decided to walk a few blocks and see what there was to see.

The city’s skyline includes more than just the Ren Cen.

Turns out there are a lot of shapes and colors just steps away from the Plaza…

All angles and straight lines.

…and not all of them were modern.

The Wayne County Building is from another era.

There’s an elevated train that circles the city. I liked the way it curved against the square shapes of some of the architecture.

And look! A bit of fall color too!

Historic buildings were reflected in the glass of those more modern.

Reflecting on history.

Just about everywhere I looked there was something interesting. And I was only a block from the river.

All these angles caught my eye.

I headed back toward the river, and watched the People Mover above against another iconic building.

Moving on up.

Then I was back at General Motors headquarters. The sun was glinting off the glass, flags blowing in the stiff wind.

What’s inside?

Don’t you wonder what’s inside all this curving glass? Nothing about a Walktober says it has to be outside, right? Let’s go in!

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Back outside, I headed east again toward my car. Not everything is all shiny and modern. But things are getting better in the city of Detroit, and getting better doesn’t mean forgetting where we came from.

Different shapes, different eras.

No, there’s still lots of work to be done in the city. New neighborhoods are sitting next to the relics from another age.

The renaissance is not complete.

But it’s not scary anymore to be down on the riverfront. And that’s promising. I hope you enjoyed our walk and that you’ll come visit Detroit someday. We have more to show you!

Smiled at this bar door.


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Walktober – epic fail

Looking at my calendar it was obvious that yesterday was the only available day between now and the 19th to get my Walktober in. Especially if I wanted to go anywhere further away than my own back yard. Which I do.

So yesterday morning I packed up the camera and headed out to the Shiawasee Nature Preserve, about an hour north of me.

Last year, on the way home from a camping trip without Katie (dogs aren’t allowed at the Preserve) I got there the day after they closed for the season. I’ve been wanting to go back ever since.

This year I figured there’d be few people out there in the middle of the week, but there might be better color in the trees since it was north of me. I was sort of excited about checking it out.

My GPS took me down a couple of wrong roads once I got close, all of them dead ends, but eventually I found the parking lot. And this:

Well darn it all.

So I wound my way home using backroads, getting turned around on detours for construction but not minding too much because that just put me on more back roads with more barns.

Turns out this was a barn photo shoot, more of a Drivetober than a Walktober.

But I have not given up! I am going to find somewhere new to visit, just closer to home as I only have partial days available between now and the deadline.

And I know if I really get backed up against the wall Robin will give me a few more days…just like she’ll give them to you if you haven’t scheduled your Walktober yet. But I hope you have, grab your camera and share something of what fall looks like where you live, then link to Robin’s blog!

I can’t wait to see where you all walk!


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Walktober – Katie’s way

Katie here! Mama said that Miss Robin over at breezes at dawn is hosting Walktober again this year!

Mama said there were great clouds. Whatever mama.

She said I could participate if I wanted to, and I said…. “Well of course I want to participate mama! Have you ever known me to ignore a chance for a walk?”

Then I had to think about where I wanted to go. Mama said since it’s a Walktober I should go somewhere that showcases the beautiful colors we have around here in the fall.

This is a big mowed space next to the lake just perfect for a Walktober!

In the end I had to let mama choose because I was too excited to think straight. Plus I don’t have a drivers license.

We ended up going to one of my parks, the Holly Recreation Area, which is only about 15 minutes away from my house. Mama parked at the boat launch where there’s a big long earthen dam that is perfect for running. There wasn’t anyone out there so I got to explore and sniff as much as I wanted while mama took pictures of stuff not me.

Incoming sheltie! You better have a treat for me mama!

It was such a pretty day with a good breeze that made my fur fly. I love it when I look good. Which frankly is most of the time. I am, after all, a princess, and a princess is never seen in public if she’s not at her best.

Then mama said I needed to get to work to find pretty color. That was, after all, why we were out there. I figured she was in charge of pictures so it was her responsibility to find pretty stuff, but I ended up having to do it for her. So typical.

Here’s some color mama!

She thought the purple flowers I found were very pretty.

Pretty buds up close.

But she said they weren’t really the colors representative of fall in Michigan. She said I should look around and find something more appropriate. Mama is so demanding. So while she was busy taking pictures of not me I wandered over here.

Colorful enough for you mama?

I figured this would do the trick, and I was right. She got all excited and stuff, which sort of backfired on me cause she made me sit there for a long time while she tried different angles and settings. Then she wanted to do closeups too! Geeze mama!

These aren’t edible so I wasn’t interested.

She said I did good and she was headed back toward the car. Wait just a minute there mama! This was my Walktober and I wasn’t done walking! I marched right past the car and headed down a path the follows the edge of the lake.

Do you see me way down there?

Mama just shrugged her shoulders and followed along. She really didn’t have a choice cause I was not getting in that car! Then she got all interested in taking pictures of the lake.

They’re just lily pads mama!

She called this her Monet image. I have no idea what she’s talking about, but it kept her busy so I had more time to sniff.

The path took us over to the beach. Nobody was over there on a chilly October afternoon and mama said I needed to remember my responsibility to find you all some color. So I tried.

I’m pretty sure white is a color!

I figure flowers are nice, and asters bloom in the fall here in Michigan, so they count for a Walktober, right?

Then we took a path that winds through the woods, heading back to the boat ramp. And guess what? There was more color!

Hey mama look!

Mama likes being in the woods, so we spent a long time in there. I didn’t pressure her to hurry, and she didn’t ask me to move along either. That’s why we like taking walks together, we both understand the purpose of a walk.

Mama found this color all by herself. I was busy sniffing on the other side of the path.

I like being in the woods too, so I didn’t mind when she took a couple more pictures of me. Plus she had treats.

I’m feeling a bit small here, mama!

Mama said that I did a great job finding color to show you all. Plus I got to go on a walk, sniff the fresh air, let the wind show my fur off, and spend time with my mama. Win/win!

A splash of color hidden away in the woods.

I’ve been at camp so much this summer that mama and I haven’t had time to do many walks together. So I’m really grateful to Miss Robin for getting mama to take me out exploring. We didn’t have much in the way of traditional fall colors, not yet anyway, but we had a great time.

Not a lot of color, but very dramatic.

I hope you enjoyed my park as much as I did, but I don’t see how you could without being there. Maybe some day we can all get together and go on a walk. Meanwhile, Walktobers are a pretty cool way to stay connected!

Does this wooly bear mean a long or short winter?

Where will you take us on your Walktober? We can’t wait to see. Take a walk, write about it and link it to Robin’s Walktober post (or any of her posts) by Oct 19th. Robin will do a summery post on or about October 21st. She’ll even wait a few days if you need a bit more time.

Mama, as usual, is behind and hasn’t figured out where she’s going. I told her she’s not allowed to hijack my walk, she has to do one of her own.

Reflections after a great Walktober!

A princess can be generous, but she never gives away her Walktober.

Can we go check for color over there mama?


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Photo surprise

Early Saturday morning, just before the sun made it out of bed, I headed out to a park about a half hour away to meet other photography students and an instructor. We explored the Hawk Woods Nature Center, with it’s large pond and trails.

Then the sun began to push through the clouds.

It was cold, only 44F degrees (6.66C) and I hadn’t dressed warm enough. But I figured once we were moving, and in the woods, I’d be fine. I was wrong.

This park, on this particular day, challenged my belief that there’s always something to photograph. Though there were beautiful purple asters I wasn’t noticing much else in the way of fall color.

If you look closely there’s a bit of color, no matter where you are.

The pond was fringed with tall grasses, making it hard to appreciate. But I did notice this guy sitting across the way when I passed a break in the grass.

Hiding in the grasses.

But still, what else to shoot? The class stopped at a wildflower garden, but I wasn’t really into it, as I have the same flowers in my own yard. So I meandered away from the pond and into the woods.

This path looked interesting.

I am always most comfortable in the woods. Not much color in there, but still, it drew me in.

After a bit of time in the dark green woods I went back to where the group was still concentrating on the flowers. I moved on down the trail that circles the pond, looking for anything interesting.

The sun began to peek out and the grass began to glow.

Brown is a color, right?

If you make this bigger you’ll notice the intricate texture of this dried queen anne’s lace.

Down at the end of the pond I came across a couple fat warblers and a chickadee hopping about in a shrub. I didn’t have the right lens, and while I was changing lenses they flew away. But I was happy to see them.

Not peak color yet, but still pretty.

By now my fingers were freezing, and my broken little finger was aching, a combination of the cold and carrying the camera, so I decided to pack it in. I’m not writing this park off, I think if I had dressed better I’d have stayed and found more pretty things, and given it’s not so far away I will definitely go back.

On the way home I stopped and got a warm drink, trying to make my finger feel better. I stopped at a rest stop along the freeway, to toss the cup when I finished the drink, and as I was getting out of the car I noticed a flurry of activity in the crab apple trees lining the sidewalk.

Could it be my favorite birds? I heard the distinctive excited chirp. My camera already had the long lens attached and was sitting in the passenger seat. My fingers were no longer cold.

I grabbed the camera and crept up to the trees. AMAZING. There were adults…

Notice the yellow feathers at the end of his tail.

…and juveniles.

Notice the stripes on his breast.

I know people stopping at the rest stop thought I was insane as I was creeping around the trees with a big ole camera. But I ignored them, except when they slammed car doors and the birds rose up into the air as one. Then I scowled at the clueless drivers. (Not really, it’s a public rest stop after all.)

Three in this one shot!

There were so many! They’d fly from the trees near the bathroom over to the trees on the other side of the parking lot, and back again.

The trees were beautiful too.

I was having such a great time. And in a rest stop. But I actually squealed when I got home and looked at the images. Because I had captured this:

My favorite shot of the day.

So the point of this post is that there always is something interesting or beautiful or original, or fun to shoot. And you should always have your camera ready to go, because you’re never going to know what you’ll see when you keep your eyes open.

Years of sitting quietly in these woods.

Many thanks to Bob DiTommaso and his wife Juliann for hosting the meetup. If I hadn’t gone and wandered at the park I wouldn’t have stopped for a warm drink and to toss the cup and I never would have seen the cedar waxwings.

Plus I found some pretty things at the park too.

Hungry


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Three cities in one week has to be a record

We’ve been away – yes again. In the space of one week we were busy in Baltimore, MD, Washington DC, and St. Louis, MO. Not long enough at any of them, but all together too long to be away so soon after getting home from our Canadian adventure.

Katie says no more trips until she gets to do something fun.

Winging our way to Baltimore on Southwest very early Monday morning.

I didn’t take my laptop or my camera, and most of the time that was fine. We were too busy to do much in the evenings anyway, except collapse and try to rest up for the next day. But there were probably five or ten or a thousand times during the week that I wished I had my big camera with me.

Oh well, the photos in this blog were all taken with my phone which does an OK job, and in some situations even a better job, than the big camera would have.

Baltimore street in evening light.

So let me catch you up on our travels!

We flew last Monday into Baltimore where we stayed with a friend who, along with a journalist, has written a book about the horrendous experience of losing his wife in a truck crash. His two sons, also with her in the car, were injured, one of them permanently.

A little corner of the library caught my eye.

The book release was last Tuesday and we attended the author event at a huge, beautiful public library in downtown Baltimore. It was fun and we enjoyed supporting our truck safety family member Ed as he spreads the word about unsafe trucks and the extraordinary costs regular families pay so that goods can get to all of us faster and cheaper. And why that has to change.

The next morning we took a train from Baltimore to Washington DC, were we spent the next three days in meetings, educating our lawmakers about four bills we’re supporting.

The DC public transportation system is amazing. Locals there don’t appreciate it as much as those of us who only visit.

It’s a different sort of feeling being proactive rather than reactive. For once we’re asking for support on safety related bills instead of protesting unsafe trucking provisions attached to pending legislation.

One evening we spent the golden hours up near the Capital…

The sun sets on another day of work trying to make our roads safer for everyone.

…and noticed the sun shining off of the Supreme Court building. They were letting people climb the court’s steps, not something that’s always allowed. So of course we ventured up too.

Sitting on the steps of justice.

And just as we were moving on, heading to the train station for our trip back to our hotel, the sun made the building glow.

Like a painting.

Evening back at the hotel was nice too. Our view of the Rosslyn area was stunning, though I was usually too tired to appreciate it.

The phone camera does night shots really well.

Another evening we went to see a baseball game.

Going to the game.

It’s the end of the season, and the local Washington Nationals have already clinched their playoff spot. But the crowd was still excited to be there.

Getting the fans excited.

And as the sun set and the sky went dark the game began. It was perfect out at the ball park, balmy weather, a bit of a breeze…

Play ball!

…and the Nationals won!

It was a good game, lots of scoring, lots of organ music and lots of people watching.

After the game we dawdled on our way back to the hotel, waiting for the crowds on the Metro to thin out. We sat by a fountain at the DOT and watched the water change colors and height.

Blue and pink and green and red lights made this a fun fountain to watch.

Lots of people stood among the trailing water. I just took pictures. No sense heading back to the hotel with wet shoes. Or worse.

Soon our time in DC ended. Saturday morning we headed back to the airport to fly to St. Louis.

Southwest flies out of an older, sort of retro part of National airport. This is the center post and I thought it was cool.

Why St. Louise you ask? Well, this has gotten long enough so I guess you’ll have to wait and see. Plus we pick up you know who tomorrow morning so I need to get my sleep tonight. She’s going to be in a fine fit and I’ll be occupied for some time trying to placate the princess.

You never know how that will go. Well. I guess you do know how that will go, and if you don’t I’m sure she’ll tell you.

Stay tuned.

Oh, she’s going to make us pay for having fun without her. Guaranteed.


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Almost to Canada

Well, on my last travel post I thought we were ready to cross the border into Canada, but as I sorted through photos I realized there was still plenty to see in Minnesota.

Enjoying Lake Superior on a warm summer afternoon.

Unless this post gets really long there’s no way I can get you through Minnesota and all the way across the northern shore of Lake Superior and back to the border at Michigan.

Everywhere there are ships loading and unloading.

Let’s just see how far we get.

I didn’t want to move on without telling you about Gooseberry Falls, north of Duluth.

I was fascinated by the exposed tree roots as much as by the falling water.

There are a couple of sets of waterfalls, all of them were beautiful when we were there. You could walk on the rocks very near the falls if you wanted, or stay on the trail. The trail took you further down the river where you could get a view of all the falls at once.

Most waterfalls we saw have upper and lower falls.

And even further north is Grand Portage National Monument. We stopped there because we were expecting an historical monument. Maybe a marker.

Pretty impressive.

But there’s a beautiful information center…

One of the interior murals.

…and guided tours of the restored trading post.

Explaining the birch bark Indian shelters.

We explored the interiors of several buildings…

The kitchen and the dining room.

…and then the lake shore itself.

The gate down to the dock where boats full of goods would land.

I could have stayed out on the dock for the rest of the evening.

Such a beautiful evening. The clouds were perfect.

It was getting late and we were almost to the border, so reluctantly we moved on.

But wait! There was another set of waterfalls, on the Pigeon River, in the Grand Portage State Park. The river makes up the border between Minnesota in the United States and Ontario Canada. Should we stop? It was chilly and starting to rain. It was late in the evening and getting dark.

Of course we stopped.

There weren’t many people out there, but the walk was relatively short, maybe only half a mile back to the falls. We hurried as the rain came down harder.

The High Falls on the Pigeon River.

We could hear it before we saw it. The falls were magnificent, and we were glad we made the trek. The walk was on a paved path most of the way, not difficult at all, which made it easier for us to sprint back to the car.

Now we’re ready to head into Canada! But that will have to wait until the next post. I think that blogging while sleepy could be a problem.

And you know I’m all about safety. Stay tuned.

Surprise, there are more waterfalls in Canada!


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Weekly smile

Too much travel lately made me lose track of the weekly smile. It definitely wasn’t intentional, because I truly believe the world can use more smiles.

Just a little bit of pretty.

So today, when I remembered I hadn’t officially smiled in a couple weeks, I headed out to find you something to smile about.

I’d like some of these in my garden.

Sure I could have just given you the Canadian images, but those weren’t from this week. And even though looking at travel photos always makes me smile I figured I should find something new.

The place was abuzz.

Just about a mile up our country road is a corner filled with pyramid shaped goldenrod and dark purple asters. If I happen to go by when the sun is low I can’t help but be mesmerized.

There were tiny white asters too.

So I smiled a lot as I wandered in this little patch of pretty, even though my target for today’s smile was another place a few miles up the freeway.

A garden further up the road.

Yep, just a couple exits north of here is a swanky subdivision that I drove by yesterday on my way to buy birdseed.

A pretty fancy entrance.

I hadn’t been up there most of the summer, so I was amazed to see the entrance, full of huge canna lilies and tall dahlias heavy with blossoms.

Such amazing colors!

Somebody in this subdivision has a green thumb and a whole lot of money.

An end of summer burst of energy.

Still, it was stunning in an entirely different way than the little yellow and purple field near my home.

Every year, at the end of summer the annual gardens just glow. We could have a frost any time now, and all of this will be gone.

The tallest cannas I’ve ever seen.

So I was happy to capture a bit of it so that I can remember it during our long winter months.

I hope the colors made you smile too. What else made you smile this week? Write a post and link to Trent’s blog so we can all share smiles together!


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Ashland Wisconsin and Duluth Minnesota

Katie has released the blog back to me so that I can get back to the travelogue…we circled Lake Superior in late August and early September. There was lots to see.

Sturgeon at the Duluth aquarium.

I could do a separate blog about each town we visited, but in the interest of saving some time, here are just a few images from a couple towns before we headed into Canada.

The side of the co-op was covered in a beautiful mosaic. This is only about a third of it.

Ashland was a town in Wisconsin that we were just driving through on our way to Duluth. We weren’t planning on stopping there, in fact the road moved north of downtown, following Lake Superior’s shore.

But we saw a sign that referenced ‘public art’ with an arrow pointing toward downtown, a block away, so we turned toward town. And we were astounded by our first glimpse of huge murals painted on the sides of many of the retails buildings.

The flowers complimented the beautiful mural.

At first we were just going to take a couple of pictures and move on. But then we realized how outstanding these pieces of art were and we parked and walked from one end of town to the other.

These women were real people who worked at the local diner back in the day.

I’m only showing you a fraction, they were all worthy of photos and I took pictures of all of them on the main street. I think there were a couple more further away.

Sometimes the murals melted right into the afternoon sky.

If you ever get the chance to visit Ashland I recommend giving yourself an hour or more. Plus there was an absolutely wonderful burger place right downtown. I had a really good bean burger.

Mural reflections.

I recommend visiting there too.

Then we got back on the road, heading to Duluth.

The bridge into Duluth.

Duluth is a working town, lots of ships coming and going. While we were at the aquarium we saw a big ore boat come into port. And no matter where we went ships were loading or unloading.

I liked the grey ship with the grey sand against the blue sky and water.

You saw the post about the mansion in town. There’s also Pattison State Park, named after the family that built the large house.

Upper falls. It’s hard to see just how big these falls are.

Lots of waterfalls there, and I was still figuring out settings to make the water smooth. Sometimes I got it right.

Working on my fluid water technique on the lower falls.

The first night we stayed on the top floor of a hotel with a view of the city.

Lake Superior, a ship, the iconic Duluth lift bridge and a cloud front. Perfect.

At night it was so pretty. I could show you that…but you can imagine it. I sort of liked this shot from our window.

Lots of color at night.

Just because it’s fun.

OK, OK…here’s the real night shot.

Took this one with my phone. Phones cameras are amazing.

The second night we stayed at a hotel down near the marina with a lovely view of the bridge and boats.

Early morning light on the marina.

Plus we got to drive across the famous lift bridge!

Crossing the bridge.

After two days of sightseeing in Duluth, visiting mansions, lighthouses, waterfalls, the aquarium and Lake Superior we moved on, heading north into Canada.

Pretty and peaceful at the Duluth aquarium.

I guess I’ll have to post at least one more travel related blog or I’ll have abandoned you at the border.

Roses in full bloom at the Leif Erikson Park at the edge of Duluth as we left town.

And there’s plenty to see in Canada.

Stay tuned.

Building on a building in Ashland.


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Exploring

Katie here. I know, I know, you’re expecting more photos of mama and daddy’s latest trip. Trust me, there are definitely more in mama’s files.

But geeze! Have you all forgotten about me?

Come walk with me in my backyard!

I’ve spent an awful lot of time at camp this summer. Don’t get me wrong, they treat me great there, but it’s not the same as being under mama’s feet. So since I’ve been home I’ve become something of a Velcro dog, never further than a foot or two from mama.

I kind of love my backyard!

Today I asked her if we could please take a tour around my yard, so I could make sure that everything was still copacetic out there, given I haven’t been around much, and mama said “OK baby girl! Let’s go explore the yard!”

Mama’s abstract of my fur.

We stopped at my zinnia garden which replaced my tomato garden of years past. I have to say I like tomatoes much better than silly flowers. I may be a Princess, but flowers don’t do a thing for me. Give me a ripe cherry tomato any time. Especially one I can pick off the vine for myself.

I ask you – how are these flowers better than tomatoes?

I’ve put in an Executive Order for tomatoes next year.

Way in the back of the yard daddy has been trimming trees. Do you see me in there?

I’m in there, hiding from mama!

How about now?

I’m right here mama!

Mama took so many pictures that I finally just laid down in the nice cool grass. No sense trying to rush her when she’s got that camera in her hand.

Yep, might as well take a break.

Mama also says to tell you her finger is healing. The bruising is all gone but the doctor says the bone hasn’t healed completely yet. It’s only been three weeks but mama says it feels like she’s been injured forever. She went to her first physical therapy session today.

She says it’s going to be a long fall.

I told mama that Fall is my favorite season!

Anyway, I enjoyed my wander around my yard. Things look OK, so I feel justified in taking a nap now. Never used to be that the backyard was equated with an adventure, but hey, I’m a senior, adventures can happen anywhere!

Yep, everything is good over here.

Talk later, mama says more travel photos are on deck next.

Zzzzzzzzzz…